Golden, Colorado, United States — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 08 September 2011 – The United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon made renewable energy and its ability to lift the poorest nations to new levels of prosperity a central theme during his visit to Colorado this week.
With the Rockies as his backdrop, Ban toured the National Renewable Energy Laborotary here, where he inspected the flexible thin-film modules produced by Colorado-based Ascent Solar. “The facility,” he said, “represents innovative approaches that for relatively little cost can connect remote areas to the global network of information and ideas.”
According to the World Bank, more than 1.4 billion people worldwide “’ mostly in places like rural Asia and much of Africa “’ do not have access to electricity. About 3 billion use wood, charcoal, coal, and dung for cooking and heating. Reaching universal access to modern energy services by 2030 will require new capital investment of up to US$40 billion annually in new investments.
Ban categorised three areas of energy in which significant inroads need to be made. The first was access to our modern services. Second was to double the world’s energy efficiency. Finally, the share of renewable energy in relation to the overall energy mix needed to double. “This,” he said, “will shine a light on parts of the world that have lagged behind modern development. With it will come better health, better food, more stable governments and a higher level of education,” he added.
“The possibilities for gains in renewable energy span industries that include geothermal, biomass and hydro power, as well as solar and wind,” Ban pointed out.
“Earlier this year I visited a geothermal power station in Kenya,” said Ban. “I saw how both the government and the private sector are investing in renewable energy from wind power to small-scale hydro. I have also seen how China is leaping forward to become a world leader in clean energy.”
Ban made an impassioned plea for a movement that fuses politics, business and grassroots advocacy. “What we need most is strong, sustained political leadership to drive this clean energy revolution forward at the speed and scale necessary.